Monday, October 31, 2005
Prominent artist Stephen Pace on campus
Pace took his first formal art class at the age of 17, after his family moved to a farm in Posey County, Indiana, and went on to become a prominent member of the New York School abstract expressionists.
That first art class was sponsored by the Works Progress Administration in Evansville and was taught by an accomplished local artist, Robert Lahr, who helped Pace achieve a high degree of mastery in drawing and watercolor. Pace also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, Art Students League in New York, and the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Italy.
After serving in the army during World War II, Pace began to develop, all on his own, artistic practices that would soon be described as abstract expressionism.
“I didn’t really know anything about abstraction. I didn’t realize until I got to New York and met Franz Kline that you didn’t have to have a subject,” he said. “I had no way of justifying nonfigurative art, but in spite of myself that is what I was doing.”
At the height of his success as an abstract painter, Pace and his wife Pam rented a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. The change in lifestyle harbored a change in his style of painting; he returned to figurative themes.
His artwork has been exhibited in the nation’s most important galleries and museums. A New York Times review hailed his work for its highly sophisticated use of color and its bold, joyous composition.
Pace received an honorary doctoral degree from USI in 2002. The USI collection includes four paintings by Pace and three black and white prints.
The artist, born in 1918, continues to paint and exhibit his work regularly.
The Evansville Museum Shop will have copies of Stephen Pace, a beautifully illustrated monograph containing 93 color plates and 45 black and white illustrations, for sale at the event. The book costs $50 and also is on sale at the museum shop.